Caring for someone

4. Managing someone else's affairs

If you're a carer or look after someone, you may have to manage their personal and financial affairs.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005

Every day we have to make decisions. The ability do this is called mental capacity.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 exists to protect people who are 16 years old and over and who, for various reasons, are not able to make decisions for themselves. This may be because they have:

  • learning disabilities
  • mental health issues
  • an illness. For example; dementia or Alzheimer’s disease

The Act allows people not able to manage their own finances to nominate someone to:

  • look after their affairs for them
  • make financial and lifestyle decisions for them

Visit our Mental Capacity Act 2005 pages to find more information.

To put this in place, a binding legal document needs to be drawn up. This is called a lasting power of attorney (LPA).

Lasting power of attorney

You must be 18 or over and have mental capacity when you make your LPA.

An LPA has to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before it comes into effect or can be used. The OPG can give you information on setting up and preparing an LPA. There is a cost for registering an LPA with the OPG.

Before setting up an LPA you should seek legal advice. You can also call the OPG for information and advice on 0300 456 0300.

LPA is available in 2 forms:

1. Property and affairs

This allows you to make decisions about someone else's property and affairs when they're no longer able to do so. This includes:

  • selling a house or property
  • paying bills
  • running a bank account
  • collecting benefits or a pension

2. Health and welfare

This allows you to make choices about someone else's health and welfare when they're no longer able to do so. This includes:

  • medical care
  • deciding on their home or living arrangements
  • daily routine
  • life-sustaining treatment

To find a solicitor visit the Law Society website.

Note: Prior to October 2007 Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) was in place. Existing EPA's are still lawful provided they were signed:

  • prior to October 2007 and
  • when the person could still make reasoned decisions for themselves

The EPA does not need to have been registered with the OPG. However, if the person begins to lose the ability to make decisions for themselves, the EPA must be registered with the OPG. A deputy might be appointed if no EPA or LPA exists. For more information visit the GOV.UK website.